Evaluation of correlations between socio-demographics and oral health seeking among patients
Background: It is commonly reported that individuals at higher socioeconomic class have greater health awareness culminating in better care-seeking from orthodox facilities. It is yet to be ascertained whether this reflect in attitudes of patients toward seeking oral health care. Aim: This study was designed to evaluate the effect of certain socio-demographic indices on oral health care-seeking in an urban society where adequate facilities are available. Methods: A one point observational study of the patients attending the Dental Clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, was conducted using a questionnaire which sought to document the levels of education, income, marital status and the oral health seeking practice of the patients. The appropriate treatments for individual patients were also documented. Results: One hundred and three patients participated in the study that spanned three months (1st April- 30th June, 2006). Fifty-six (54.4%) of the patients were males while 47(45.6%) were females with age range of 19-85 years and average of 39 years. Eighty-six (83.4%) patients had at least secondary school education of which 65 (63.1%) actually had tertiary education. There was no significant correlation between oral health seeking behaviour and level of education, level of income, and marital status. Seventy-four (71.8%) of the patients had tooth extractions while the remaining patients had non-surgical treatments. The reasons for preponderance of surgical treatment needs were discussed. Conclusion: Although a larger proportion of the dental patients were well educated and had better income, this did not reflect in their oral health seeking behaviour.
Keywords: Behaviour, Oral health care, Socio-demographics, Surgical treatments, Conservative treatments
Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 2 (3) 2008: pp. 244-248
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